CANUCKS 1 @ CAPITALS 5
The upstart Vancouver Canucks (2-0-0) are looking for their third consecutive win to begin the 2008-09 season as they visit the Verizon Center to play the Washington Capitals (1-1-0). The Canucks are gunning for their first 3-0 start in nine years, the 1999-2000 season was the last time Vancouver got off to such an impressive start. They're in deep today against the reigning league MVP in Alex Ovechkin and the defending Southeast Division Champion Capitals though. Good thing the Canucks are coming together in all phases of their game right now, Roberto Luongo has looked good in net, the defence is playing tough and gritty and the offence has 11 goals in two games, but will it be enough to take down the Caps? Stay tuned to find out.
A few line-up notes for tonight, defenceman Kevin Bieksa is out, he's been placed on the injured reserve although Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said after Vancouver's skate this morning that he's hopefully the rugged blueliner will be back before the end of the week. Newcomer Rob Davison will take Bieksa's place.
Vigneault also said that forward Kyle Wellwood may see the ice tonight against Washington, although he couldn't confirm that.
20:00 - Hi everyone, Derek here with you once again on this holiday Monday, Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you got to enjoy some turkey with all the fixings, or a tofurkey if you don't eat the gobblers. Whatever suits your fancy, I hope you've had a great day, it only promises to get better with the Canucks against the Caps, the only time this season Vancouver gets to strut their stuff against Ovechkin and company.
20:00 - This just in: Darcy Hordichuk and Mike Brown are healthy scratches for the Canucks, John Erskine and Eric Fehr for the Capitals. Also of note, Washington forward Sergei Fedorov is on defence for tonight. No jokes. Captain Louie is in net for Vancouver, as expected, while Brent Johnson is in for the Caps, a surprise move there as the Caps put Jose Theodore on the bench.
18:04 - The Canucks just had their first good scoring chance of the game, Pavol Demitra fed it to Taylor Pyatt who tipped it to Mason Raymond in front of the net, Raymond just tipped it wide of the goal on the rush.
17:06 - 1-0 WASHINGTON - Michael Nylander came out from the right side of the net in the Canucks zone, lost control of the puck but Alexander Semin found it and put it over a sprawling Roberto Luongo.
15:58 - 1-1 TIE - POWER PLAY GOAL - Alex Edler just came up the middle and ripped that one home, that's his first goal of the season and what a beauty is was. A fluster of offence as this game knotted at 1-1. Henrik Sedin and Sami Salo draw assists on the goal. Washington's Shaone Morrisonn was in the box for interference on the play.
13:53 - Alex Ovechkin was just all over the Canucks in their zone. Man is he fast. He took a run at Mattias Ohlund but the Canuck got the best of that hit.
11:31 - Semin is showing his speed at the moment, after stealing the puck from Raymond with a vicious bump, he twisted and turned until he got a solid shot on Luongo through traffic. Shots are now 5-1 in favour of Washington.
9:56 - Hits are 8-5 for the Caps as they are roughing up the Canucks a bit right now. Look for Vancouver to respond by stepping up their physical presence to end this opening period.
9:24 - Shane O'Brien is in the box for interference. This is Washington's first power play of the game, Vancouver has yet to give up a goal on the PP yet this season. Ovechkin has 59 power play goals so far in his career so the Canucks will have to pay extra, extra, extra close attention to him.
7:20 - Chris Clark just bumped into Luongo and he's going off for goaltender interference. The Canucks are now 14-for-14 on the penalty kill with a power play of their own upcoming.
6:15 - Vancouver has been moving the puck well so far while up a man but they can't get any shots through on Johnson. They still only have one shot on net this game.
4:49 - The Capitals killed off that penalty with ease and managed to draw a penalty as soon as Clark stepped back onto the ice. Washington had some great chances to score on the delayed penalty call, including a Nicklas Backstrom snap shot 10 feet in front of the net, but Louie was there to smother it. Demitra is now off for hooking.
3:49 - 2-1 WASHINGTON - POWER PLAY GOAL - Mike Green just scored his third goal of the season off some great passing on the power play. Nylander was the workhorse on that play, he carefully worked the puck out front from the left side of Luongo and Green had no trouble putting it home.
2:12 - Raymond just drew a penalty using his speed. Streaking behind the Washington net he was hauled down by Milan Jurcina, who will sit down for two minutes or less.
00:52 - The Sedins worked the puck around well before finding Demitra alone in the slot, but the puck jumped over his stick. That led to a shorthanded chance for Semin, Luongo smothered it easily, but looked behind himself just to make sure.
00:00 - As the horn sounds to end the first period, the Canucks head to the lockerroom with their heads down. They didn't play terribly, but they only recorded two shots on net which just isn't going to get the job done. They'll certainly need a better effort in the remaining two periods against this explosive Washington team; the Alex's have both been dangerous for the Caps, Semin and Ovechkin. Hits are eight apiece after 20 minutes, the Canucks have blocked 11 of the Capitals shots so far, Washington doesn't have any, then again they haven't had anything to block.
20:00 - That was easily Vancouver's worst period of this young season, they're lucky to only be down a goal as we start the second period of play.
18:40 - The Canucks are being outworked to start the second frame, Ovechkin and Backstrom look a half step faster than anyone else on the ice.
17:05 - Boy is it ever weird to see Fedorov playing back on defence, he's easiest the fastest defenceman in the league. I'm still not sure why he's back there though...
16:33 - Shots are now 12-2 for Washington, Vancouver has yet to record a shot this period. Johnson might as well go sit on the bench with Theodore.
15:43 - 3-1 WASHINGTON - Washington won the face off in Vancouver's zone, Clark dished the puck to Jurcina who snapped it in from the blueline. O'Brien was screening Luongo on the play, Louie had no chance.
14:37 - 4-1 WASHINGTON - This is getting ugly. The Capitals are toying with the Canucks. First Semin hit the right post, then Fedorov flipped the puck through the crease back to Semin who was now back on the right side of Luongo. The Russian roofed it for his second of the game. Nylander was also awarded an assist on the goal, his second helper of the game.
14:00 - Canuckie2 might be right, Vancouver is ssssllllloooowww tonight, not sure what's up, they may have actually had too much turkey before the game.
13:36 - Shots are now 17-3 for Washington, Alex Burrows is the only Vancouver forward that has a shot on net. Yikes.
12:30 - Last year's NHL MVP just made Kyle Wellwood part of the boards. What a hit by Ovechkin, Wellwood will be feeling that one for a while. Hits are now 10-10.
8:37 - Both teams are controlling the puck well now when they have possession, there have been some good end-to-end rushes but the Canucks still can't hit the net.
7:21 - Henrik Sedin is in the box for hooking, a goal here for the Capitals would all but end this game, a kill by the Canucks would give them a little something to build on.
6:12 - Shots are now 20-3 in this game for Washington; Vancouver's lowest shot total ever was a lowly 8 they put up against the New Jersey Devils on December 18, 1996.
4:40 - Things are going sideways for the Canucks, Edler is now in the box for hooking. Vancouver's frustrations are becoming more and more evident, just as they were successful on holding the Caps at bay with Henrik in the box, Edler takes a penalty.
3:29 - Ohlund shot Rick Rypien's loose stick at a Washington player on the penalty kill and Washington is being given a penalty shot. This makes no sense. The refs are now double checking their call, they're on the phone with the league to check their ruling. Semin is at centre ice waiting to take the shot.
3:29 - The ruling stands, Nylander will take the shot because he's the one that Ohlund shot the stick at.
3:29 - 5-1 WASHINGTON - POWER PLAY GOAL - Nylander put the fans to sleep with his sloth-like speed in alone on Luongo, didn't matter though, he deeked to the left and put it past Luongo, who was on his butt trying to make the save. That was brutal and to make matters worse, Edler is still in the penalty box.
1:23 - Vigneault is now juggling the lines trying to get something going, Bernier is between Pyatt and Raymond.
00:00 - I'm not usually someone who struggles for words, but I'm speechless right now. This game is all Capitals, the lead 5-1 on the scoreboard and 23-3 in shots, it's men against boys out there tonight.
20:00 - An exciting comeback was in the cards for the Canucks two nights ago against the Flames, tonight will probably be a different story. I'm usually an optimist so I'd like to think Vancouver can fight back and respond with a stronger third period, the Capitals have just been all over them though, out scoring them, out shooting them, out hitting them, out everything them.
20:00 - Luongo is out, Curtis Sanford is in. Captain Louie stopped 20 of 25 shots. This is Sanford's first action of the season.
19:07 - More interesting line combos for the Canucks, Raymond and Pyatt are now with Wellwood.
17:21 - Big save there by Sanford, he stood his ground with Green streaking into the zone, Semin almost got his mitts on the rebound. He's looking for the hat-trick.
14:56 - Dump and chase, dump and chase, both teams are playing some dull hockey to start the third.
14:11 - Burrows just got another shot on net, that brings Vancouver's total to four! Oh baby!
12:23 - Sanford just made two nice saves, first he stopped Ovechkin on a quick snap shot, then Matt Bradley on the rebound.
11:54 - For those of you keeping track, the Canucks now have five shots on net, there's still a chance they'll get to eight and avoid setting a net brutal record for fewest shots in a game.
10:00 - Ovechkin is a beast. The Caps just sent the pucks down the ice but instead of letting the Canucks touch it for an easy icing, AO hustled down to Vancouver's zone with blistering speed and contested Mitchell for the icing. Vancouver got it, but that's the effort you like to see this late in a game with his team up 5-1.
9:34 - Shots now 30-6 for Washington.
7:25 - It's just a matter of time now, the Canucks will succumb to the Capitals for their first loss of this young season. Right now there aren't many positives to build on, hopefully Vancouver can make something, anything, happen in these final minutes.
5:36 - Jurcina's in the box for tripping. The Canucks are 1-for-3 on the power play, maybe a late goal while up a man will ease the pain of this loss?
4:59 - Vancouver just hit the net for the seventh time, they just need one more to avoid setting a bad, bad record.
4:09 - Well said Matti96, I never thought of that!
3:40 - Just as the penalty came to an end the Canucks recorded two shots on net, they now have nine so they're safe from the record books.
2:00 - The fans are all over Vancouver now. Smiles all around the Verizon Center, it makes me want to puke.
1:01 - Wellwood just stole the puck and had a good chance to score, but he shot the puck wide. Big surprise with the way things have gone for the Canucks tonight. It just hasn't been their night.
00:00 - That's the ball game. Back to the drawing board for Vancouver, that was a total team effort and not in a good way. No one Canuck sticks out as the worst player tonight, they were all turkeys.
FINAL SCORE: WASHINGTON 5 - VANCOUVER 1